PSC: Afghan Detention of U.S. Contractors “Deeply Troubling, Unwarranted”

Arlington, VA, January 16, 2013—The Professional Services Council (PSC) today called upon the U.S. government and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to take “all appropriate steps” to protect the rights and safety of contractors operating in Afghanistan in support of the U.S. and ISAF missions there. PSC’s comments come in the wake of the January 15 arrest and detention by Afghan authorities of three employees of the Supreme Group. The individuals were released earlier today.

“These individuals were arrested without cause or provocation during a regularly scheduled, weekly meeting with the Afghan Revenue Department,” said PSC President and CEO Stan Soloway. “They were inappropriately detained simply because they refused to pay taxes the company does not owe and that are clearly prohibited under international, bilateral and other agreements to which the Afghan government is a signatory. That they could be summarily detained and exposed to the associated, inherent risks is deeply troubling.”

“It is vitally important that the relevant U.S. and ISAF officials make clear to the Afghan government that this kind of intimidation and the dangers it creates, cannot be tolerated,” Soloway said. “If they don’t, this could happen to any other contractor in Afghanistan that is supporting the U.S. mission.”

PSC has written many letters to and held many conversations with U.S. government officials urging them to resolve the Afghan tax issue and uphold the agreements. Our white paper examining the importance of reconciling the tax dispute with Afghanistan is available here.

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About PSC: PSC is the voice of the government professional and technical services industry. PSC’s more than 350 member companies represent small, medium, and large businesses that provide federal agencies with services of all kinds, including information technology, engineering, logistics, facilities management, operations and maintenance, consulting, international development, scientific, social, environmental services, and more. Together, the trade association’s members employ hundreds of thousands of Americans in all 50 states. Follow PSC on Twitter @PSCSpeaks and @StanSoloway.